The building a trade and Investment bridge between the

The Big Picture: UAE Sustaining World’s Goodwill

With the bang of a gavel, UAE among world leaders
approved a 15-year plan to abolish one of the world’s biggest worries: poverty.
The UN established the Sustainable Development Goal 1, alongside 17 others, on
September 2015 so the world contributes together in making a better future for
everyone living on Earth. His
Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation, served on the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level
Panel on Global Sustainability. The UAE was a member of the UN Open Working
Group which developed the SDGs.

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The UAE’s foreign assistance policy contributes to global
efforts to achieve the SDGs. Its assistance will likely contribute to most of
the goals and particularly directed towards particular number of them, shown
below.

UAE’s Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has set the goal to do “Partnerships
for Development Program”, which is a series of full-scale foreign assistance
programs between the UAE and selected partner countries, guided by UAE
strategies that contribute to national development priorities and delivered in
collaboration with the government and other relevant partners. Focusing efforts
in selected countries will allow for larger-scale programs with increased
funding, as well as dedicated staff and expertise, for each country. This
approach helps the governments of developing countries, which have limited
capacity to coordinate donor activities and hence usually prefer to have fewer,
deeper relationships with donors. The UAE is already providing assistance to
several countries through multi-year assistance efforts, and its future Country
Partnerships for Development will build upon these experiences.

The program also
encourages trade & investment bridges to promote trade and investment
between partner countries with high potential for economic engagement to
contribute to the country’s development. Almost all countries which have
achieved significant increases in GDP per capita in the past 50 years have done
so through trade and/or foreign investment. At the same time, UAE-based
companies can benefit from new export markets, new sources of imports, and
investment opportunities. Therefore, for relevant partner countries, the
Partnership for Development will include building a trade and Investment bridge
between the UAE and the partner country. That is through packages of measures
including trade, double taxation and investment protection agreements,
capacity-building to help partner countries apply World Trade Organization
agreements, support for reform of business and customs rules and processes, and
organization of trade and investment missions.

UAE’s focus partners are countries, which are fragile, and
conflict-affected states. Ineffective governance, economic collapse, a
breakdown of legal systems, corruption and violence, can reverse past
development progress, and undermine the success of current and future
assistance. Development programming in fragile states must take account of the
country context, analyzed through fragility assessments. Furthermore,
activities in all sectors should be designed in such a way that they strengthen
institutions and alleviate conflict, and vetted to ensure that they do not
inadvertently make fragile situations worse.

Philanthropy Dimensions: A Reflection of SDG Practices in UAE

According to the UN, poverty is defined as “the
inability to get opportunities and choices, a violation of basic human rights
and dignity”. It translates to the lack of capacity to participate in society
effectively. It is the inability to provide health care to ones’ family, the
lack of enough food and clothe for the children, the lack of a job to earn a
living or enough land to grow food, and the inability to access credit. It
means powerlessness, insecurity and individual, household and community
exclusion. It implies vulnerability to violence, and it often means living in
fragile or marginal environments, short of clean water and sanitation.

There are 836 million people who still live in
extreme poverty and sadly about one in five persons in developing regions lives
on less than $1.25 per day. The majority of people living in less than $1.25
live in two major territories, which are Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. High
poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries.
(UN.org, 2018)

As part of UAE international contribution to SDG and
the good in this world, the UAE has been providing financial provisioning to
cater for the needs of about 1.5 million households among 40 countries
contributing to SDG Goal number 1 to a world with no poverty. Subsequently, UAE
takes responsibility in making millions of lives better in different countries
as UAE is a global leader in food donations. About 795 million
humans are undernourished around the world. Poor nutrition causes
nearly half of deaths in children under five, which is about 3.1 million
children each year. Moreover, one in four of the world’s children suffer
stunted growth. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in
three. UAE has played a key role as well as a participant toward many
international humanitarian initiatives, especially those caused by natural
disasters and conflicts. Between the years of 2011 to 2017, UAE directed a lot
of it donations towards vanishing poverty with an estimated donations of AED
8.9 Billion.  In 2016 alone, the UAE spent
AED 15.23 Billion worth of development assistance. (government.ae, 2017)

Several government-financed organisations in the UAE
provide humanitarian assistance across the world. These include:

o  
Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) – Since 1983, the Red Crescent of UAE has been a
pioneer in promoting different aspects of domestic and international philanthropic
work, irrespective of race, ethnicity, geographic or religious aspects. In
2001, UAE Red Crescent was chosen as the second best humanitarian authority in
Asia.

o  
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) – Established in 1971 to support developing countries achieve
sustainable economic growth and curb poverty.

o  
Sheikh Khalifa Foundation – Since its inception in 2007, its
contribution to various fields of infrastructure, health and education and has
reached more than 87 countries across the world.

 

Ensuring
healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is indispensable
to sustainable development worldwide. Significant advances have been made in
increasing life expectancy among children and mothers during giving birth. The world
witnesses today a significant growth in obtaining clean water, sanitation,
reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, many
more efforts are needed to fully exterminate a such diseases and address many
different persistent and emerging health issues. 17,000 fewer children die each
day than in 1990, but more than six million children still die before their
fifth birthday each year. (UN.org, 2018) Although UAE is
ranked as number 1 in healthy expectancy at birth by Human Capital Report, World
Economic Forum, but exporting this endeavor to the world was a responsibility
that the country took.

High illiteracy rates in any country contribute to
poverty among the populations. This is because majority of them are not skilled
to embark on entrepreneurship to create more jobs. The SDG Report stated that
about 103 million youths in the global space lack requisite literacy skills and
women constitute about 60% of the number. However, UAE has 95% literacy rate
including men and women equally in the country. This means majority of the
populations in UAE can read and write or have the basic literacy skills. The
implication is that the country tackles poverty by educating its people. Hence
we see tremendous examples of UAE donations goes to the education, probably one
of the latest examples is the donation of 55 million AED to support education
in Gaza. (Emirates News Agency, 2017)

According to the UN water, scarcity affects more than
40 percent of people around the world, which is an alarming figure with the
consideration of Global Warming. Despite the fact that 2.1 billion people have now
access to improved water sanitation since 1990, declining numbers of supplies
of safe drinking water is a major problem affecting almost every continent.

The UAE has established a global responsibility in global
efforts to combat human agony in many aspects, as well as having a solid
presence in the areas of emergency and longstanding humanitarian aid in all
parts of the world. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President
and Prime Minster of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a law establishing Suqia,
the UAE Water Aid Foundation as non-profit organization. The UAE Water Aid
Foundation is an entity that works under the “Mohammed bin Rashid Al
Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation”, and is primarily focused in
research and development as regards to water shortage solutions

The United Nations addresses the Sustainable
Development Goal 9 from three important aspects of sustainable development:
infrastructure, industrialization and innovation. Infrastructure provides the
basic physical amenities essential building societies and supporting businesses;
urban development pushes economic growth and jobs diversity, thereby reducing
income inequality; and innovation expands the technological capabilities of
industrial sectors and leads to the development of new skills. In
terms of infrastructure, UAE is ranked fourth among countries of the world with
a state of the art infrastructure (The Global Competitiveness Index, World Economic
Forum, 2017-2018).
This means that the country is committed to providing what the workforce needs
in terms of infrastructure to facilitate the achievement of the economic,
social and political goals of the country. Quality infrastructure is critically
needed for the development of a country. Lack of such vital structures impede
the smooth development of a country. Therefore, the UEA is committed to
building supplementary infrastructure to enhance growth in UAE and across the
globe.

Central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is SDG 16, which
stands for the need to endorse peace practices and societies that are just and inclusive
based on mutual respect for human rights, the rule of law and transparent, operative
and liable institutions. A number of regions have enjoyed increased and
sustained levels of peace and security in recent decades. Nevertheless, the UN
states that many countries still face violence, armed conflict, injustice acts
to human being living there. Global efforts are always keen to make national
and international organisations more effective. Today, more than half the world
has internationally recognized human rights institutions. However, significant
challenges remain, including lack of information on forms of violence against
children and other minorities.  (UN.org, 2018)

One
among many examples is UAE commitment towards refugees of Life-saving aid
shipped from International Humanitarian City to more than 500,000 Rohingya
refugees fleeing from mass violence in Myanmar.

Aid including 24,670 plastic tarpaulin sheets that was estimated to provide
help to 123,350 people at Bangladesh refugee camps. The first flight, a
UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777, delivered 1,671 tents that is estimated to cost around
2.7million dirhams, which provides shelter for about 8,355 refugees. The plane
carried 91 tonnes of aid including much needed shelter materials, jerrycans, covers,
sleeping mats and other essential items.

HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime
Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sponsored the second trip of the flight,
which carried almost 827,000 AED worth of emergency aid to Bangladesh,
supported the second flight.

 UAE has also sent the first mobile-hospital to
relief Rohingya refugees, which provided diagnostic, therapeutic and
preventative medical services. (Nick Webster, The
National , September 25, 2017)

As a country, which has developed itself over the past few decades, the
UAE recognises well that real improvements can only come through the efforts of
a country’s leadership and people. Our foreign aid has always been
“demand-driven,” and this will continue to be a defining characteristic of our
assistance.

Collaborate with other donors and development organizations. We are part
of the global effort to address the world’s most vital problems and to realize
human rights and dignity for all. As such, UAE works with other nations on
joint initiatives and will always ensure that our activities are complementary.

Addressing neglected issues and under-supported communities. Not all issues
and not all countries receive the same attention. The UAE will direct
activities towards countries that receive little aid from other donors, towards
sectors and SDGs that get less attention, and towards neglected humanitarian
emergencies.

Bibliography

Emirates News Agency. (2017). UAE donates AED55
million to support education in Gaza. WAM.
government.ae. (2017, November 23). The UAE’s aid
to foreign countries. Retrieved from government.ae:
https://government.ae/en/information-and-services/charity-and-humanitarian-work/the-uae-aid-to-foreign-countries
Nick Webster, The National . (September 25, 2017).
Dubai aid air-drop will help 500,000 Rohingya refugees . The National .
The Global Competitiveness Index, World Economic
Forum. (2017-2018). The Global Competitiveness Index. WEF.
UN.org. (2018). sustainable development.
Retrieved from http://www.un.org.
 

 

 

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